[INDOLOGY] 'Vedic' astrology

patrick mccartney psdmccartney at gmail.com
Wed Nov 16 09:29:05 UTC 2016

Some cyber-ethnography I am conducting tentatively supports the claim that
"Vedic Astrology" is usually interpreted to mean precisely, "traditional
Indian astrology". One interesting thing is that, even though my
interlocutors (westerners for the most part)  almost all assert it means
the above; when pressed to define what they consider the 'Vedic' part of
the phrase to more specifically mean, the typical answer is overwhelmingly:
"I don't really know". If asked to discuss the difference between the
astrological, ie predictive systems, or the historical, parallel
development of these systems, even some people who claim to be
'professional Vedic astrologers' seem unable to clearly differentiate them.

The same can be said for my tentative investigations into people's
attitudes toward 'vedic maths'. Most people, and to be honest I include
myself in this group, seem unable to clearly articulate what this type of
maths is meant to be, and how it is any different from 'maths'.

These anecdotes would at least point towards support of an analysis that
'vedic', for the most part, does simply refer to a vague,
'historico-mythical' past that is 'pure' and not influenced by premodern,
transcultural flows of ideas.

But, it still does not help me, nor my interlocutors, to really pin down
what a 'Vedic-X' is . Apart from "it's really old", which = 'better'.
However,  I find this conclusion of sorts frustratingly bland.

Regardless, it is this seemingly uncritical absorption of the/a Vedic
narrative, and its narritival power to infuse the past, present and future
with meaning and potential that intrigues me most. This is at both micro
and macro scales of analysis.

On 16 Nov 2016 7:17 PM, "Martin Gansten" <martin.gansten at pbhome.se> wrote:

> Bill,
> I have read and re-read that section, and searched for various phrases
> within the book as a whole (searchable PDF files are a boon), but I can't
> find any mention of 'Vedic astrology' or anything like it. Dikshit seems to
> have a western academic understanding of 'Vedic' as a historical period,
> and he claims that the 'seeds' of a predictive system are present in
> Atharvajyotiṣa, but he is also very clear that such a system is not the one
> based on the twelve-sign zodiac, although he thinks it 'probable' that the
> latter system, when it was imported into India, was influenced by the
> parallel, indigenous system. (Which undoubtedly it was, if perhaps not to
> the extent that Dikshit would have liked to think. The nakṣatras are used
> in horā, after all.) This is stated at the beginning of p. 100.
> In my view this is quite different from the development that we have seen
> over the past few decades, where practitioners themselves label all Indian
> astrology (often including the Tājika school) as 'Vedic', typically without
> any idea of that label referring to a particular historical period -- if it
> is used in any historical sense, it is with reference to a vague, mythical
> past. 'Vedic' is used here simply in the sense of 'traditional Indian', the
> implied idea being a tradition that is not only ancient and unbroken, but
> essentially unchanged (and, as Robert has pointed out, sanctioned by
> Brahmanic authority).
> Jean-Michel's mention of so-called Vedic mathematics in this context seems
> very relevant; does anyone know when that designation first appears? Also,
> of course, Dagmar's reference to āyurveda, though I don't think anyone has
> yet decided to call that system 'Vedic medicine' (or have they?).
> Martin
> Den 2016-11-15 kl. 21:45, skrev Bill Mak:
>> Martin, not exactly. This was precisely my point. Dikshit did refer to
>> horoscopy under Vedic astrology. See “Jātaka branch of astrology” under
>> “Atharva jyotiṣa” in the section Vedaṅga (Vol.1 p.97-98). Things might have
>> come to the forefront in recent time, but such ideas have certainly been
>> around.
>> Bill
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